Friday, August 7, 2009

The Tech Scout

Yesterday, I got asked when talking to one person, what is a Tech Scout? We were on ours for Rising Stars so I thought this would be a good moment to explain the important Tech Scout (TS).

What many productions do, just before Principle Photography begins is to call a TS. The participants are usually department heads and a few keys (like gaffer, key grip, 2nd AD). We meet together and then go to each and every location. We walk the location. I tell the department heads roughly how I want to block a scene, what directions I want to shoot. I'll ask the Director of Photography and the Production Designer for their input on crafting a scene. The gaffer will look at the location, thinking about power and where he'll place lights. The Key Grip might hear me say "I would like a long dolly shot from here to there" and start figuring out how to make that happen. The 2nd AD might be looking at how many extras we might need to fill out the scene and where he's going to put them. And so on.

Usually a TS might take several days. We tried yesterday to knock it out in one due to the fact almost all the locations are at the UTA campus. But we still didn't quite get done. But close. I remember on my first feature, we did a TS on our day off right before week three, because we weren't able to cover them on the TS before shooting began.

From my point of view as a director, I like the TS because I can better flesh out the scene and how it plays by standing there at the actual location. For this movie, I've actually been doing a fair amount of just walking the campus and visualizing the scenes.

It's Friday before the shooting begins. We've still got a couple minor things to work out as far as a few remaining locations. I've shot listed the first week and will try and do week two and three before Monday. I'll be meeting with the actors as they arrive. It only get's busier from here.

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